ASCILITE Special Interest Groups through the lens of their members: Main learnings from the 2017 SIG survey

by Hazel Jones, Griffith University (ASCILITE Executive Committee and Co-facilitator Learning Analytics SIG)

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an integral aspect of ASCILITE with seven groups now providing opportunities for networking, professional learning and collaborations. Each SIG operates in its own unique way and many ASCILITE members and non-members are active participants in multiple groups.

In 2017 the SIGs included:

  • Learning Analytics
  • Learning Design
  • Mobile Learning
  • TELedvisors
  • Transforming Assessment

In 2017 the ASCILITE Executive disseminated a survey to all SIG members to help ensure that ASCILITE SIGs are relevant to their members and help ASCILITE and the SIG leaders better understand needs within the SIG. This post discusses some of the highlights from the survey responses.

A total of 87 survey responses were received with 26 members indicating that they were members of multiple SIGs (16 members of 2 SIGs and 10 members of 3 SIGs). Two groups, Digital Equity and Open Education Practice are new in 2018 and hence were not included in the survey.

For the TELedvisors SIG the most important need identified by members was to be part of a community whilst for all other SIGs the main purpose was keeping up to date with new advances in the field. Respondents across the SIGs prefer monthly activities so this is a point that will be encouraged with the expectation being promoted to SIG leaders. The majority (70%) of respondents indicated they were most likely or definitely will remain involved in the SIG in the future, suggesting that they are generally happy with the activities and running of the SIGs.

Many diverse responses were received to the free text question “Why did you sign up to the SIG?” and the Wordle below indicates (unsurprisingly) that some of the main reasons were interest in the topic, connecting with the community and networking/support opportunities, keeping abreast of what is happening and professional learning opportunities.

Webinars were considered the most valuable activity with 35 respondents commenting on the benefit of these, with discussions also mentioned in a positive manner by 16 respondents. There were five negative comments regarding lack of awareness of what is being offered. This suggestion perhaps pointing to an opportunity to promote the SIGS more widely through additional avenues to those currently in use.

This post is just one avenue being followed to achieve an increased awareness of, and involvement with all of the ASCILITE SIGs.

Detailed information about all of the SIGs and their activities can be found on the ASCILITE website and we invite you all to join or continue your association with these groups.

ASCILITE is currently running a general feedback survey for all our members and we encourage you to respond to this by 28 September to contribute to the future of our association. The survey can be accessed here or through the link sent by email to all current members.